Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
You’ll find answers to most of your questions about the Society of RPA right here. If after reading this you have additional questions, please Contact Us.
We welcome your questions and will hopefully be able to provide a timely response and post it to the website. Please address any questions or comments to us and include your telephone number and the best time to reach you with a response.
Applying for Membership
Q: How long does it take for my membership application to be approved?
A: Qualification for the RPA Designation and membership in RPA must be approved by the Credentials Committee, which currently consists of Douglas Jackson, RPA in California, and Mike Csom, RPA in Michigan, both of whom must vote unanimously in your favor. On average, it takes 7-14 days for new members to be approved.
Q: What does it cost?
A: Once you have qualified to receive the RPA designation, you pay an annual membership maintenance fee. The initial matriculation fee is currently $150. All fees are subject to change. Membership is contingent upon completing annual Continuing Education requirements
Q: What designations are currently available?
A: The RPA designation is the only current designation offered.
Q: How do I get started?
A: Contact us and tell us you’re interested. We’ll send you an information packet and take it from there.
Q: What is the "Society of RPA"?
A: The Society of RPA is a U. S. -based, global professional society of claims adjusters. It has three clear objectives:
- Develop and promote strict professional standards for claims adjusters encompassing experience, continuing education, and ethics. Provide the RPA Designation only to those adjusters who meet RPA standards and other RPA requirements.
- Promote RPA professional standards as an industry benchmark of competence for claims professionals.
- Advertise and promote the RPA designation as the global standard of excellence for claims adjusters, much as the CPA designation is regarded as a symbol of excellence for accountants.
Q: Who founded RPA?
A: The Society of RPA was founded in July 1996, by members of the California Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters.
Q: Who were the key people responsible for founding RPA?
A: Gil Malmgren, Malmgren Associates, Oakland, California; Peter Evans, D.L. Glaze/ASU Group Novato, California; Daniel G. Price, Pacific Claims Service, Inc., San Diego, California; John Joiner, Rooney & Anderson, Eureka, California; Robert L. Gresham, Jr. CPCU, R.L. Gresham & Company, Las Vegas, Nevada; and Eugene Riggs, AIC, Napa, California, were RPA’s co-founders. Mr. Price became Chairman of the Board early in 2001.
Q: Why does the RPA exist?
A: The RPA’s purpose is to provide a professional designation for those who exhibit significant experience, expertise, ethics, and knowledge while engaged in the business of insurance loss/claim adjustments.
Q: Is RPA incorporated?
A: Yes — in Nevada.
Management of the RPA
Q: When was the Board of Directors formed? What's the Board's purpose?
A: The Board was formed in 1998 to provide direction, control, additional organization, and bylaws. The Board’s work – performed on a voluntary basis without monetary compensation — has enabled RPA to operate as an effective, functioning business.
Q: Who are the current Directors?
A: Michael Csom is Chairman, Douglas Jackson is President, Gary Kerney is Treasurer, and Gene Roberts Secretary. Other Board of Directors members are Anthony “Tony” Clark, Elise Farnham, Jon McCreath, Douglas Peterson, Peter Schifrin and Dave Mehren; Douglas Houser is Of Counsel.
All members volunteer their time and receive no compensation, with the exception of expenses for those who are retired and have no company affiliation. As an example, Michael Csom is retired from the ASU Group and the Society reimburses his travel, hotel and meal expense to attend board meetings. All other board members are financially supported by their employers.
Q: Who runs the Society on a day-to-day basis?
A: As indicated above, the founding members ran the organization as a committee until 1998 when the Society was formalized with the election of a Board of Directors and the adoption of Bylaws. In their first meeting in St Louis, MO, the Board established a process by which the Society would operate in the future. Since that time the Society has had only two employees. The first was Gene Riggs, who retired in 2001, then Susan K. Sunny, who retired in 2006. Pamela Murphy joined the RPA to take over the duties of Susan. Pamela stepped down from the ED position in 2012 and Dave Mehren has become the new Executive Director. He maintains the RPA office in Geneva, Illinois and handles the day-to-day affairs of the Society. His duties include maintaining the membership database, collecting dues, maintaining and cataloging member CE’s, and answering membership inquires by phone and email.
Q: How many people belong to the Society of RPA?
A: At the time this site was launched (January, 2002), there were over 1300 designees. Although there was a slight decline in membership, those numbers continue to increase each year.
Q: What countries are your members from?
A: Although the majority of people who posses the RPA designation and are members of the Society of RPA are from the United States, and are more or less equally distributed across the country, an increasing number of members is international. Presently, we are represented in Canada, Australia, Austria, the UK, France, and Germany, Istanbul, & Turkey.
Q: Who belongs? Is it company claims people or independent adjusters?
A: Both. Our current membership is about 50% company adjusters and 50% independent.
Q: From what companies?
A: The company adjusters are from companies like Auto Club, Chartis, Chubb, CNA, FM Global, St. Paul, Zurich, and others. The independent adjusters are from organizations such as Cunningham Linsey, Crawford, Engle Martin, Frontier, Vericlaim, Schifrin, Gagnon, & Dickey, Crawford, McLarens Young, York and many others.
Benefits of the RPA Designation
Q. What benefits does the RPA provide?
For RPA Members:
- A professional designation valid in the eyes of the insurance industry
- Benchmark for competency in claim/loss adjusting
- Provides a path for achieving professional status
- A portable, validated work and education history of individual achievements, cataloging the adjusters’ educational history and experience with multiple employers
- Designation provides the individual possible leverage to seek advancement, increased compensation and better assignments from their employer
- A valuable “safety net” for professional adjusters regardless of where their careers take them.
- RPA system can validate education and work history of an experienced adjuster.
- Alternative method to train and employ a number of high-end adjusters
- Method to catalog and administer the educational accomplishments of employees
- Cost-effective alternative to internal continuing education programs
Evolution of the RPA
Q. What has changed from the initial formation of the Society to today?
A. Since the expiration of the “grandfathering” period several things have changed in addition to changing of board members. Foremost has been the development of a new business plan. The previous plan, although well thought out, lacked the financial and personnel resources to move the Society forward. The Society’s goals for the next three years are: 1) finalize development of the education program for RPA candidates, 2) increase membership, 3) achieve fiscal stability, and 4) gain broader industry recognition (branding).
To achieve these goals, the board has approved changes to the bylaws and adopted new specific criteria for members maintaining the designation. The fiscal year has been changed to January 1st thru December 31st of the current year. Annual dues have been established at $200, and members are now required to maintain 15 CE credits per calendar year. The board has also adopted a grace period for CE credit allowing an additional twelve-month period to make up the credits. Failure to comply with maintaining CEs and payment of dues will result in the removal of the member’s designation from good standing. The member may re-apply after making up the CEs and dues, which are in arrears, then sitting for and satisfactorily passing the ethics and specific line of business exam. With the expiration of the “grandfathering” period all applicants as well those seeking reinstatement must take the exams
Q. What was the “grandfathering” period?
A. The founders, in order to build membership, established a “grandfathering “period from July 1996 through July 2001. Qualification for membership was determined based on submission of an application, a fee of $250, and demonstration of experience in claim handling, educational accomplishment, and personal business reference checks. It was the intent of the founders that beyond the “grandfathering” period, yearly CE credits would be required.
RPA Annual Membership Fee (Dues)
Q. When am I due to renew my membership in the RPA and what does the fee cover?
A. All RPA Members are to pay dues each year… Dues are $200 a year, due January 1st. A $50 discount is applicable if paid by April 1st.
Dues for retirees remain at $25/yr.
Q. What are my dues used for?
- Dues are currently used for the following:
- Approving and cataloging member CE credits
- Development of RPA
- Developing, maintaining and updating the website & exams
- Member communications and newsletter
- Marketing materials
- Office supplies
- Support of Annual Conference, when held
As a non-profit we have operated on a very tight budget. The establishment and collection of the present dues structure allows the RPA to achieve the business plan of the Society.
Q. My company won't pay my dues, why should I?
A. The RPA designation is an individual designation and not a company designation. While we encourage support and participation by companies, it is not mandatory. The designation is portable and both the dues and CE requirements are the responsibility of members. It is the only designation specific to claim/loss adjusters, which also requires yearly CE’s to maintain the designation. This brings the RPA in line with Professional designations in other Industries.
RPA Continuing Education Requirements
Q. What are the Society's Continuing Education requirements?
A. The Registered Professional Adjuster Program requires members to take 12 units of continuing education (CE) credits annually to maintain the Designation. The 15 units can be split among two or more courses, conferences, or seminars – internal training courses count as well. Continuing education credits are accrued on a calendar-year basis.
Once adjusters receive the RPA Designation, it becomes their responsibility to begin fulfilling their Continuing Education requirement the calendar year after they receive their designation, then yearly thereafter. Only members fulfilling their Continuing Education requirement will be renewed upon receipt of their annual application and the file maintenance fee, currently $200. Members may look back or forward one year in making up shortage or overage of their Continuing Education requirement from year to year. After that one year “float”, a designee will go on a one-year probation after which they lose their designation if the Continuing Education requirement is not fulfilled during the Probation Period. Only members in good standing will be listed on the RPA website. Members on probation will be removed from the website listing temporarily until they have fulfilled their Continuing Education Requirement.
Qualifying for credits. Continuing Education credits require your participation and attendance at educational meetings, seminars and/or schools.
The Society of Registered Professional Adjusters understands that our members are insurance claims professionals devoted to professionalism and ethical leadership in the insurance industry.
The previous requirements for submitting CE’s were beyond that of other professional organizations such as attorneys, accountants, and other insurance license holders. The Board of the RPA has revamped our entire process of requirements for the registration of our members’ Continuing Education credits.
Effective immediately, new Continuing Education (CE) submission forms are available for download here. The new forms acknowledge that our members are trustworthy, ethical, and professional. You can even submit CE credit requests online using our new Online CE Form. Simply fill it in and submit it on your PC — no need to print or mail anything.
If you still prefer to use the downloadable forms, you simply list the courses you’ve taken along with basic information, then sign and certify completion of the courses and submit to RPA. We realize how busy our members are and trust that this choice of easy new procedures will better enable each member to submit their CEs more easily and on a timely basis.
Earlier, the Board instituted another idea that our members had requested. Members could not always secure all of their 15 hours of CE credits in one year (due to conflicting schedules, business and personal reasons, catastrophes, etc). The RPA will now allow members who are short in CEs one year to apply an overage in CE credits either from one year previous or one year forward.
A key focus of the Society of RPA and the RPA Designation is to promote professionalism through education. Do your part to maintain your Designation by submitting Continuing Education credit requests promptly.
Q. How do I get my CE credits recorded by RPA?
Take advantage of our new Online CE Form — you just fill it in and submit it.
Q. Has the requirement for Continuing Education (CE) credits changed?
A. Yes. Members who joined RPA in 1997 had to obtain 50 hours of CE credits before five years elapsed (by 2002); RPA did not specify how these credits were to be earned. In 2000, the requirement was changed to 15 hours of CE credits per year. That amount is consistent with most states that require submission of CE’s to that state.
Q. How can one apply and be reinstated?
If a member fails to keep current with yearly dues and CE requirements, he/she is dropped from active membership. A deleted member may apply for reinstatement as follows:
A) Submit a payment of $350 (current and past due membership dues), and
B) All CE’s are brought current for the current calendar year.Option 2:
A) The individual shall submit a payment of $150 (current membership dues), and
C) Take and pass the new RPA Designation and Ethics exam.
Q. What is in the immediate future of the RPA?
The future of the Society is dependent on the continued support of the membership. Over the past two years, the board has attempted to leave no question unexplored, no thinking unchallenged and no issue unresolved concerning the future of the Society. Building from our original roots, we now understand that it is the responsibility of the directors to determine “what “needs to be done, while the actual “how” to accomplish will be the responsibility of the membership. This has been proven by the members who volunteered to work on committees addressing education and business plan issues.
Our specific plans for the future are:
- Implement the new testing mechanism (Done)
- Establish by Fall 2010 a ( mRPA) Master Registered Professional Adjuster designation
- Achieve regulatory parity between RPA designation and State Licensing Requirements
- Continue to keep the Society on firm financial ground
- Create and deliver Value-Added services to members
- Establish our brand identity